The best rivalry in this part of the lacrosse world resumes Saturday night, when No. 1 Johns Hopkins pays No. 4 Maryland a visit at Byrd Stadium. The Terps need little to get their juices flowing for the Blue Jays, but there may be some guests they want to impress.
Thirty years ago, the men's college season climaxed with a 10-9 overtime victory for Maryland over Hopkins in the third NCAA championship game. Coach Bob Scott and the Blue Jays tried to slow the pace in the 1973 final at Philadelphia's Franklin Field, but the Terps had too much Frank Urso and finished 10-0, Maryland's only unbeaten season since 1956.
"That's the day I realized how good Frank Urso was," said Buddy Beardmore, the Maryland coach at the time. "I ran him on our second midfield all four years, because he was strong enough to carry a complete midfield by himself."
What Gary Gait was to Syracuse in the late 1980s, Urso was to Maryland. The Terps' only four-time first-team All-American was a freshman in 1973. Two years later, he took the Terps to their second - and last - NCAA crown.
Urso followed fellow midfielder Doug Schreiber, the nation's outstanding player in 1973, on the migration south from Long Island. Beardmore went to Calvert Hall - where the coach then was a young Towson State grad named Dick Edell - to recruit faceoff ace Doug Radebaugh.
Nine Maryland players were named first- or second-team All-American in 1973. Radebaugh and Schreiber will make it to Byrd Stadium on Saturday to take a bow as that championship team is recognized, and Beardmore be there too, albeit watching his step.
Beardmore, himself a first-team All-America midfielder for the Terps in 1961 and '62, has battled Parkinson's disease for the past decade. The same disorder that has stricken Muhammad Ali and actor Michael J. Fox, Parkinson's saps the physique but not the brain, and Beardmore is vigilant about maintaining a normal lifestyle.
"As long as I take my medication, I'm fine," Beardmore said during a telephone interview. "I'm sitting in my weight room right now. I do a lot of cardiovascular work on a stationary bike. My biggest concern is balance, and I've got to be strong if I fall.
"The funny thing is, I can still play golf. My big-motor skills are fine, but small motor is another thing. I can swing a club, but putting a ball on a tee is a challenge."
Beardmore doesn't get to many college games, but he is a regular follower of the Severna Park Green Hornets team that includes his 11-year-old grandson.
Villanova on move
Hopkins and Maryland are shoo-ins for NCAA tournament bids, so the most important game Saturday night could come in Pennsylvania, where No. 19 Villanova plays host to No. 9 Towson.
They're the only unbeatens in the Colonial Athletic Association, and Wildcats coach Randy Marks said "this might be the most meaningful game Villanova has ever played."
Marks would know. This is his 21st year as the Villanova coach. One of his first teams had an 11-1 record, but "didn't get a sniff" from the NCAA, which at the time held an eight-team tournament. If the 7-2 Wildcats can upset the Tigers, they'll have the inside track for the home-field advantage in the inaugural CAA tournament, where the prize will be an automatic bid.
The Wildcats don't have a win over a name team, but both losses came on the road by a goal, at Duke and Bucknell.
Marks, who worked for 32 years as a high school teacher and administrator, has no athletic scholarships and no full-time assistant coaches. He makes good use of household talent. Brian Marks, his son, is a four-year starter on attack and the nation's leading point-getter. Another son, Dave Marks, lettered for Hopkins in 1997 and '98, and is now one of his assistants.
No. 12 Ohio State opened Great Western play with a big win over Notre Dame, and Saturday the Buckeyes stay at home to face defending GWLL champ Fairfield. ... No. 18 Bucknell goes to Army on Saturday, and the winner will be in command of the Patriot League. ... Act fast if you want to get seats between the end lines at Ravens Stadium, because 11,800 tickets have been sold for the NCAA championships May 24-26. Tickets can be purchased online at lax4baltimore.com, or call 410-261-7283.
Team (W-L), Schedule, Paul McMullen's skinny
Johns Hopkins (6-1), at Maryland Saturday, 8, Has anyone ever swept the Atlantic Coast Conference? The Blue Jays have already beaten Virginia, North Carolina and Duke. Kyle Barrie has 19 goals and seven assists in the past five games.
Loyola (5-3), at Georgetown Saturday, 1, The Greyhounds need a win to bolster their fading hopes for an at-large bid. The Hoyas are unbeaten, but they haven't exactly played a heavyweight schedule.
Maryland (7-1), Johns Hopkins Saturday, 8, Mike Mollott has 89 career assists, and only one Terp since 1980 has compiled 100. Subtract the 10 goals North Carolina scored March 22, and the Terps are allowing 7.0 a game.
Mount St. Mary's (3-6), Siena Saturday, 3, Coach Tom Gravante, who underwent a bone marrow transplant in February, is back in charge of the Mountaineers, who are very much in the Metro Atlantic mix.
Navy (4-5), at Penn State Saturday, 2; UMBC Tuesday, 7, These are the last two ECAC tests for the Mids, who are 0-3 in the league, with two of the losses by a goal. Coach Richie Meade couldn't live with an 0-5 league record.
Towson (4-3), UMBC tonight, 7; at Villanova Saturday, 7, The game of the week for the Tigers isn't tonight, but Saturday's trip to Pennsylvania, where Villanova is the only other Colonial Athletic Association unbeaten.
UMBC (4-3), at Towson tonight, 7; UNC Saturday, 1; at Navy Tuesday, 7, After allowing 10 straight goals to Towson during one stretch last season, the Retrievers seek to make amends. Their man-down unit has been beaten just five times this season.